The Didactic Phase

In the first semester of the didactic phase, students will receive an extensive clinical science education in Clinical Anatomy, Clinical Physiology, Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Molecular Mechanisms of Disease. Students will be taught key healthcare interviewing techniques, develop counseling skills, become familiar with psychosocial aspects of various diseases and responses to stress, and become sensitized to cultural diversity. Integrated in this semester are introductory aspects of pharmacology, health policy, professional practice, and information literacy. The courses in this semester form a foundation which will be reinforced and expanded during the subsequent, didactic phase semesters.

First didactic semester:

  • MPA 3101 - Clinical Physiology (4 Cr)
  • MPA 3102 - Clinical Pharmacology I (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3103 - Advanced Medical Microbiology/Immunology (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3104 - Psychosocial, Cultural, and PA Professional Practice Issues (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3105 -- Health History and Physical Diagnosis Lecture I (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3105L - Physical Diagnosis Skills Lab I (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3106 - Clinical Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3107 - Advanced Clinical Human Anatomy Lecture (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3107L - Advanced Clinical Human Anatomy Lab (1 Cr)

During the second didactic semester, students will sequentially develop their history and physical diagnosis skills and by the end of the Health History and Physical Diagnosis sequence, students will demonstrate clinical competence via practical and written exams. Additional courses will strengthen their medical knowledge in Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, and in the medical sciences of pediatrics and surgery. In this semester the Clinical Medicine courses will focus on the specialties of Cardiology, Pulmonology, Hematology, Rheumatology, Dermatology and Ophthalmology.

Second didactic semester:

  • MPA 3201 - Clinical Pharmacology II (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3202 - Clinical Pathophysiology (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3204 - Health History and Physical Diagnosis Lecture II (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3204L - Physical Diagnosis Skills Lab II (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3206 - Pediatric Medicine (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3207 - Surgery I (General Surgery) (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3208 - Clinical Medicine I (Cardiology, Pulmonology, Hematology) (4 Cr)
  • MPA 3209 - Clinical Medicine II (Dermatology, Rheumatology, Ophthalmology) (3 Cr)

During the third didactic semester, students will continue to perform a focused medical history, conduct both comprehensive and focused physical exams, and present data in both written and oral forms during the Correlative Medicine course. Students will continue to acquire specific technical skills in medical procedures, such as venipuncture, IV placement, and nasogastric tube placement among others. Labs are also utilized for instruction in suturing. The end of the semester culminates in the evaluation of the student's performance in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Students will also expand their medical knowledge in surgery, geriatrics, women’s health, emergency medicine and the Clinical Medicine specialties of Gastroenterology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Nephrology, Endocrinology and Infectious Disease. Finally, students will have instruction in medical research and literature review.

Third didactic semester:

  • MPA 3203 - Essential Diagnostic Modalities and Clinical Procedures (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3205 - Obstetrics/Gynecology and Women's Health (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3301 - Surgery II (General Surgery and Orthopedic and Otolaryngologic Surgery) (3 Cr)
  • MPA 3302 - Geriatric Medicine (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3303 - Essentials in Emergency Medicine (1 Cr)
  • MPA 3304 - Clinical Medicine III (Gastroenterology, Neurology, Psychiatry, Nephrology) (4 Cr)
  • MPA 3305 - Clinical Medicine IV (Endocrinology, Infectious Disease, Correlative Medicine) (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3306 - Health Science Epidemiology and Biostatistics (2 Cr)
  • MPA 3307 - Medical Research Methods and Literature Review (3 Cr)

The Clinical Phase

The Clinical phase extends over 12 months and 3-semesters (4, 5 and 6) the students are involved in applying their knowledge and skills by participating in supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs), commonly known as clinical rotations. In addition to general medical rotations, the students will be exposed to a variety of medical specialty rotations.

In the clinical phase students are required to successfully complete nine 5-week clinical rotations (eight plus one elective) in a variety of professional settings located within the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For electives only, there is an option to complete this rotation on the US mainland per request and approval. A variety of clinical rotation settings ensures that students will amass a wide range of learning experiences. Working directly with patients, under professional supervision, students will learn to evaluate and treat medical problems in required clinical rotations that include Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Long-term Care/Geriatrics, Behavioral Health, and one Elective of their choosing. There are 2 self-directed web-based courses to complete during the clinical phase on Medical Ethics and Healthcare Policy and Evidence- Based Medicine.

Clinical Courses (Clinical Rotations- 5 Credits per rotation):

  • MPAC 4201 - Emergency Medicine
  • MPAC 4202 - Family Medicine
  • MPAC 4203 - Internal Medicine
  • MPAC 4204 - Surgery
  • MPAC 4205 - Pediatrics
  • MPAC 4206 - Obstetrics/Gynecology: Women's Health
  • MPAC 4207 - Core Medical Elective: IM, FM or Long-term Care
  • MPAC 4208 - Behavioral Health
  • MPAC 4209 - Elective

Web-based courses during Clinical Year:

  • MPA 4301 - Medical Ethics and Healthcare Policy (3 Cr)
  • MPA 4304 - Evidence-based Medicine (3 Cr)

The Culminating Semester

During the culminating semester, (semester 7) students will be involved in several culminating courses which will prepare them for the PA National Certification Examination (PANCE), as well as prepare them for clinical practice as certified Physician Assistants (PA-C). MPA 4402 Culminating Semester Elective has two tracks. In Track 1, students in good academic standing will have the opportunity to enter a second 5-week elective clinical rotation to gain additional clinical experience in an area or specialty of potential future employment. In Track 2, students who are on conditional academic standing or remediation will have additional academic support to complete outstanding requirements in patient care and in clinical experiences. The 5-week course will use various instructional techniques to enhance the student’s medical knowledge, ability to synthesize medical information to demonstrate critical- thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, students will learn the structure of a research project, scientific prose and professional writing style that is appropriate for biomedical fields in composing their Master’s Capstone. In MPA 4405, each student must complete an independent study that involves community service to individuals afflicted by physical and/or mental health problems, their families and friends.

Culminating Semester Courses:

  • MPA 4401 - Healthcare Delivery Systems (3 Cr)
  • MPA 4402 - Culminating Semester Elective (5 Cr)
  • MPA 4403 - Clinical Skills/Summative Evaluation (1 Cr)
  • MPA 4404 - Master's Capstone (3 Cr)
  • MPA 4405 - Community Service (1 Cr)

Graduation Requirements

To qualify for graduation with a Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), a student must successfully complete all courses and rotations, totaling 123 credits. This includes:

  • Successful completion of the summative evaluation (MPA 4403)
  • Successful completion of the didactic and clinical graduate coursework, the Master’s capstone project (MPA 4404), as well as the community service project (MPA 4405)
  • Attain an overall program average of 74.5% or higher. The above requirements are reviewed by the program’s Student Progress Committee, which informs the Registrar that the student is certified for graduation.

The above requirements are reviewed by the program’s Student Progress Committee, which informs the Registrar that the student is certified for graduation.

PANCE Eligibility

To be eligible for PANCE you must graduate from a Physician Assistant program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission of Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). PA program graduates will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program if their PA educational program was accredited at the time of their matriculation. Even if you have earned a medical degree from another country, you must still graduate from an accredited PA program to take the PANCE.